Take a ride
behind the world's oldest operating steam locomotive. The Fairy Queen is also the oldest exhibit in the NRM treasure trove, and is the oldest locomotive still
in revenue earning commercial service. And if that
doesn't fascinate you enough, read on:
painting of the Fairy Queen in steam. This picture appeared on a single page museum
handout, circa 1991.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE LOCOMOTIVE HERSELF, CLICK ON THE ABOVE IMAGE. THEREAFTER HIT THE 'BACK' BUTTON ON YOUR BROWSER TO
RETURN TO THIS PAGE.
RIGHT CLICK ON THE IMAGE AND SELECT 'OPEN
IN NEW WINDOW' TO CONTINUE READING THIS
October 1997 was a red letter day for the
NRM. This was the day when the venerable matriarch of the museum, the Fairy Queen
locomotive, earned the NRM a place on the world heritage steam railway operators
map. In other words, on this day the NRM joined the prestigious band of railway mueums worldwide who actually operate steam
hauled heritage trains.
unique prestige was re-inforced yet again on 13 January 1998
when this was acknowledged by the Guiness World Records administration, who
awarded this achievement the coveted Guiness World Record Certificate.
And wait, it isn't
over yet. The Fairy Queen went on to further win the coveted National
Award as the most innovative and unique tourist product introduced. The
date was 25 January 1999.
OK, OK, so the Fairy
Queen is a celebrity. So whats the big deal, I hear you ask.
matriarch takes on water before the run to Alwar.(from a
Museum handout, courtesy Harsh Vardhan.)
The Fairy Queen
takes 50 discerning passengers from around the world on unforgettable weekend trips from
Delhi to Alwar, in neighboring Rajasthan. From Alwar, the tourists are taken on a visit to
the Sariska Tiger sanctuary. They board the train again on the next day for the return
journey to Delhi.
The TYPICAL itinerary for this delightful trip
DAY-1: Dep. Delhi 0900 hrs, arrive Alwar 1500 hrs.
DAY-2: Dep. Alwar 1300 hrs., arrive Delhi 1830 hrs.
Sariska tiger sanctuary during this tour.
The 1999-2000 Fairy
Queen excursion brochure outlines the following itinerary for the current (1999-2000)
Traditional reception at Delhi Cantt. Station.
Fairy Queen Express departs for Tiger country,
Light snacks, lunch served on board.
Arrival at Alwar station to a traditional Rajasthani
reception. Welcome drinks.
Depart for Alwar town by air-con. bus.
Evening at Hotel Lake Palace, Siliserh.
Depart for Tiger Den Resort at Sariska.
2000 hrs: Traditional welcome at Tiger Den, Sariska.
program and dinner at the Tiger Den.
0700 hrs: Depart for the tiger sanctuary by jeep.
Breakfast at Tiger Den Resort.
Depart for Alwar town, see the Alwar Museum. Proceed to Alwar
Fairy Queen Express departs Alwar. Welcome drink, lunch, light
refreshments on board.
Fairy Queen Express arrives at Delhi Cantt. station.
ABOVE INFORMATION APPEARED IN THE TOUR BROCHURE FOR THE SEASON 1999-2000.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS AN INDICATIVE TOUR PROGRAM ONLY. THE
INTENTION OF LISTING IT HERE IS MERELY TO GIVE YOU AN IDEA AS TO WHAT TO EXPECT. THIS IS
NOT THE OFFICIAL FAIRY QUEEN SITE. PLEASE CONTACT EITHER OF THE ADDRESSES BELOW FOR
FURTHER DETAILS, CURRENT SCHEDULES AND OF COURSE, BOOKINGS.
IT IS NOT WITHIN THE SCOPE OF
THIS WEBSITE TO KEEP TRACK OF THE LATEST SCHEDULES, RATES AND CHANGES IN THE FAIRY QUEEN
EXPRESS ITINERARY OR THE PATTERN OF OPERATION. ALTHOUGH WE
STRIVE TO KEEP OUR WEBSITE AS ACCURATE AND ERROR-FREE AS POSSIBLE, THE WEBMASTERS DO NOT
UNDERTAKE ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY LOSS, INJURY OR MENTAL TRAUMA SUFFERED DUE TO ANY
INACCURACIES IN THIS SITE, LAST MINUTE CHANGES IN TIMINGS OR ITINERARY, OR IN THE EVENT OF
THE TRAIN NOT RUNNING ON ANY SPECIFIC DAY(S) AS SCHEDULED
ROUND TRIP PACKAGE PRICE:
INDIAN RUPEES (Rs./INR) 10,000/- PER HEAD, ALL
INCLUSIVE. (EXCEPT LIQUOR)
DETAILS CORRECT AT THE TIME
OF UPLOADING OF THIS WEBSITE
|The Fairy Queen
all decked up for her run to Alwar. This pic was shot by railfan Takahide Yamamoto of
Japan in Dec. 1998. The choice of monochrome adds to the period atmosphere. (photo courtesy: Takahide Yamamoto).
ROMANCE' posters such as this were displayed at prominent places all over Delhi, during
Nov. 1997. This one was at the NRM Delhi.
For bookings and
further information, contact:
JOINT DIRECTOR TOURISM,
& Catering Directorate,
Tel: 00 91 11
Fax: 00 91 11
91 11 3304137 (direct), 6880804
91 11 6880804
Tel: 00 91 11
Fax: 00 91 11
TRIVIA ABOUT THE FAIRY QUEEN & HER TRAIN
Fairy Queen's train to Alwar consists of two cars: 1. A 60 seater first class
air-conditioned chair car which has a front glass panel for a
view of the engine while on the run. 2. The second is a
service car which houses a pantry, a generator (230V) and a compressor for the air brakes.
for making the Fairy Queen a fully operational relic (up from the previous annotation as a
fully 'operable' relic) should be given to the then Director of the NRM Mr. Ashwin Lohani.
In fact, this entire project was the brainchild of Mr. Lohani. To pull out a vintage
engine from oblivion and earn her a place in the Guiness Book does deserve commendation!
being mothballed for decades, restoration work on the Fairy Queen commenced in late 1995.
The locomotive was ready to be steamed by January 1997. (Ref. calendar of events further
down on this page)
credit for restoring a stored locomotive to full working order goes to the Perambur Loco Workshops in Madras.
(Chennai). The Perambur Workshops continue to service the engine every year in time
for her annual steaming, and carry out any repair or modification work that might be
necessary from time to time.
made to the Fairy Queen were retrofitment of air brakes, a cowcatcher and a headlight.
Barring these, and a few external brass fittings added on, the locomotive is completely in
her original form. In 1999, the locomotive was fitted with a small compressor (for air
brakes) so as to make her an independent unit.
venerable Fairy Queen out of her glass house was a major project in itself. It involved a
large scale re-organization of the outdoor exhibits in the museum, several of whom had
become virtually immobile due to remaining static at one place for several decades. A 120
ton breakdown crane had to be deployed.
Queen is now in its third successful year of operation. This project has paved the way for
more revival projects of steam in India. In fact,a couple of more schemes are about to be
revealed very soon. Stay tuned.
|The FAIRY QUEEN in her
original form, before the add ons. She has now (1999-2000) moved out of the NRM and has
relinquished her glass palace to the RAMGOTTY.
FAIRY QUEEN gets the final touches from a dedicated team of technicials at Delhi Cantt.
station. (Photo scanned from the Khaleej Times newspaper,
Dubai. circa 1997).
|A crowd of
bemused bystanders look on as the FAIRY QUEEN blasts past a level crossing gate with her
charge. (Photo scanned from the Khaleej Times newspaper,
Dubai. circa 1997).
FAIRY QUEEN: CALENDAR OF EVENTS
The FAIRY QUEEN has had
a chequered history, and has come a long way since her rolling out of the works in 1855.
Interested in knowing about her from her younger days? Allow me to present the
calendar of events in the Queen's life:
is born: FAIRY QUEEN is built by Kitson, Thompson and Hewitson of Leeds, UK for the East
||The Fairy Queen is
withdrawn from service on the EIR (Howrah-Ranigunj) and is sent to work as a construction
engine on the Bihar lines.
||Withdrawn from the Bihar
lines as well.
|Placed on a pedestal
outside Howrah station.
|Spent at the Zonal
Training School, Chandausi (on the NR).
|First exhibit at the
National Rail Museum (then Rail Transport Museum), New Delhi
||Complete overhaul at the
Perambur Workshops of the Southern Railway.
||The Fairy Queen is
returned to steam. She is tested on the main line hauling two cars (as detailed in the
TRIVIA section above.)
||The Fairy Queen makes
her first commercial trip to Alwar and back with her two-car train.
||The Queen enters the
Guiness Book by winning the Guiness World Record certificate.
||The Fairy Queen
excursion is awarded the National Tourism Award by the PM of India as the most innovative
and unique tourism project.
|Moving on: a
pointsman adds to the period atmosphere as he works the points lever for the FAIRY QUEEN
at a station in Delhi. (Photo scanned from the India Today
magazine, circa 1997).
To sum up, here is
an excerpt from the Fairy Queen tour brochure for the year 1999-2000, which sums up whatever we have said so far:
JOURNEY BACK INTO TIME
1855. The year
when the majestic Fairy Queen rolled out for the East Indian Railway. The engine is
probably the oldest working engine in the world. After over 142 years, the Fairy
Queen rolled again on Feb. 1st 1997 from Delhi. Finding its place in the GUINESS BOOK OF
WORLD RECORDS and also a NATIONAL TOURISM AWARD WINNER (sic), this prestigious pristine
bearty, that graces the National Rail Museum, New Delhi is running again. The Queen
with the previleged ones aboard reaches the picturesque town of Alwar in Rajasthan the
same day, from where the guests will then be taken to Sriska Tiger Reserve for an
overnight stay. The select 50 guests will go back with fond memories
once-in-a-lifetime-experience. (sic). If you are fast enough, you could be one of them
above is a word-for-word quote from the official Fairy Queen Brochure for 1999-2000.